- by Mount Saint Mary College
Mount Saint Mary College

Shannen Dee Williams, associate professor of History at the University of Dayton, will present “America's Real Sister Act: The Hidden History of Black Catholic Nuns in the United States” at Mount Saint Mary College on Monday, October 3 at 7 p.m.  

This free event, taking place in the Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center, is open to the public. The Mount is located at 330 Powell Ave., Newburgh, N.Y. 

For many, Whoopi Goldberg’s performance as Sr. Mary Clarence in Sister Act is the dominant interpretation of an African American nun. In this talk, Williams will explore America’s real sister act: the story of how generations of Black women and girls called to the sacred vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience fought against racism and sexism. 

Williams is a historian of the African American experience with research and teaching specializations in women’s, religious, and Black freedom movement history. She is also the author of Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle.

The talk is part of the college’s annual Founders Week, which honors the legacy of St. Dominic de Guzman and the Dominican Sisters whose vision guided the creation of the college. The Catholic and Dominican Institute has sponsored the Founders Week celebration at the college every year for more than a decade.


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